Biden’s top security advisor met China’s chief diplomat in Vienna: White House

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US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Vienna this week, the White House said Thursday, seeking to maintain communication amid soaring tensions including over Taiwan.

“The two sides had candid, substantive, and constructive discussions on key issues” including the war in Ukraine and “cross-Strait issues,” the statement said, referring to Taiwan.

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“The two sides agreed to maintain this important strategic channel of communication to advance these objectives,” the White House added.

The meeting in Vienna is likely to reignite speculation about a potential meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Asked about the issue Wednesday, Biden said there had been progress.

Washington and Beijing’s historically strained relationship has tightened further in recent months over commercial, political and military influence in the Pacific region.

The United States has sought leverage through its Quad partnership with India, Japan and Australia. The group denies hostile intentions and stress that they are not a military alliance, but China has described the grouping as an attempt to encircle it.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to bring the island under its control one day, by force if necessary, and bristles at any official contact between Taipei and foreign governments.

Last month, a US warship sailed through the waters separating Taiwan and mainland China after Beijing launched three days of military exercises around the democratic self-ruled island.

The exercises came in response to a meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

Earlier this year, a planned visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was canceled after the United States shot down a Chinese balloon it said was conducting surveillance over US territory -- a claim strenuously denied by Beijing.

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